AFRICAN QUEEN PARES DOWN EXPLORATION PORTFOLIO BY DROPPING MANICA FINGOE PROJECT IN MOZAMBIQUE AND OKAVANGO DIAMOND PROJECT IN BOTSWANA
Vancouver, British Columbia — AFRICAN QUEEN MINES LTD. (the “Company”)announces that it has completed a thorough review of its portfolio of exploration properties in Southern Africa. Based upon results of its work programs undertaken over the past three years, it has elected to pare down its portfolio by relinquishing certain gold permits and abandoning the Earn-In/JV with Manica Minerals Ltd. (“Manica”), in order to concentrate its exploration activities on its highest priority gold targets including the King Solomon Project. It has also elected to abandon the Okavango Diamond Project in Northwest Botswana to focus on its Tsau Diamond Project in Western Botswana and its Namibia Diamond Project based upon disappointing results from exploration at Okavango.
In this connection, the Company has now provided formal notice of abandonment to Manica Minerals Ltd. (“Manica”) with respect to its Earn-In/JV with Manica, which is the subject of the Letter Agreement between the parties dated August 9, 2006, as supplemented on August 8, 2007 (collectively, the “Agreement”). Accordingly, the Company has relinquished all rights with respect to Permit Nos. 957L, 958L and 959L, covering approximately 450 sq. km. of gold and metals licenses in the Fingoe region in western Mozambique. Said permits are adjacent to ground covering approximately 230 sq. km. comprising the King Solomon Gold Project, which is the subject of a separate Earn-In/JV agreement dated July 10, 2009, with Swiss-based Opti Metal Trading Limited (“Optimetal”) and has generated exceptional sampling and geophysics results to date, which have been announced previously. A core drilling program is scheduled to commence shortly at King Solomon.
Analysis of results of the Company’s field programs on the Manica ground over the past three years, including stream, soil and rock samples, suggested that the hard-rock source for gold anomalies found on such ground actually originated on the King Solomon ground. Accordingly, the Company entered into the agreement with Optimetal and is now abandoning the Manica Fingoe Project. The Company is also continuing its exploration work under an Agreement dated April 10, 2007, with African Eagle Resources plc (AIM: AFE), under which the Company now holds a 98% interest in a key permit covering 150 sq. km. adjacent to King Solomon on the North.
The Company has also decided to abandon the Okavango Diamond Project, which covers approximately 2592 sq. km on the recently recognized southern extension of the Congo Craton in northwest Botswana. If kimberlites were present within the property, they could be the source of an important, but unexplained diamond-G10 garnet soil anomaly to the southeast, near the village of Tsumkwe, in NE Namibia. High resolution aeromagnetic data covering the property was screened, both in-house and by an independent geophysical contractor, and numerous bulls-eye magnetic anomalies were identified. Ground geophysics follow-up of selected targets outlined coincident gravity anomalies associated with a number of the magnetic bulls-eye features. Two phases of soil sampling recovered kimberlitic ilmenites and less abundant garnets, including some with diamond inclusion compositions, over some of the targets investigated. These results were considered to provide considerable encouragement for the existence of a proximal undiscovered kimberlite field. Targets were ranked on a combination of the ground geophysics and soil sampling results, and a total of 10 core holes were drilled into the 7 top-ranking targets during 2009. Unfortunately, no kimberlites were intersected, and all holes bottomed in mafic basement lithologies at depths between 50-100m.
In view of these disappointing results, a geomorphic study was carried out to determine the possible source of the kimberlitic minerals recovered within the property. This study demonstrated that the highest concentrations of kimberlitic pathfinder minerals are associated with a recently recognized ancient shoreline of a major Pleistocene lake that once covered much of northern Botswana, and that the kimberlitic minerals had most likely been transported by longshore currents from a distal primary kimberlite source. Based on this study, it has now been concluded that no further work is warranted within the Okavango Property. Rather, the Company’s ongoing diamond program will now focus on the Namibian and Tsau Properties. These are highlighted as diamond exploration targets because they straddle ancient sub-Kalahari fossil drainages that could have provided the transport lines for the diamonds and G10 garnets associated with the Tsumkwe anomaly. Exploration will continue on these diamond properties during 2010 and a core drilling program is planned for the Tsau Property covering key targets.
The Company’s diamond exploration program is overseen by Dr. Andy Moore (Pr. Sci. Nat.), who is a Qualified Person with 30 years’ experience in diamond exploration in Southern Africa. Dr. Moore has reviewed and approved the contents of this press release.
About African Queen
The Company is an exploratory resource company with diversified mineral properties in Southern and West Africa. It is exploring its properties in Mozambique and Ghana for gold and other metals and it is exploring its properties in Botswana and Namibia for diamonds. The Company’s licenses in Botswana and Namibia comprise approximately 9208 sq km of diamond prospects. In Mozambique it has approximately 380 sq km of gold and other metals licenses under agreements with two other companies. Its operations in Botswana are carried out through its operating subsidiary, PAM Botswana (Pty) Ltd.; its operations in Namibia are carried out through its operating subsidiary PAM Minerals Namibia (Pty) Ltd.; its operations in Mozambique are carried out through its subsidiary PAM Mocambique Limitada and its operations in Ghana are carried out through its subsidiary AQ Ghana Gold Limited. The Company has its executive offices in Vancouver, Canada.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF
AFRICAN QUEEN MINES, LTD.
Chairman & CEO
For more information, contact:
President and CEO
Phone: (604) 899-0100
Fax: (604) 899-0200
Düsseldorf +49 (0) 1722 1234 47
London - +44 (0) 7780 602 788
The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of the information contained herein. The statements made in this press release may contain certain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ from the Company's expectations.